7 Steps to Getting a Perfect Shredded Body

Your foolproof plan for single digit body fat

Hugh Jackman showing shredded physique

When you envision yourself in the future you see a man like no other. He stands out from the pack, with his shredded six pack proudly on display. He’s hardworking, dedicated, and has a hard body to prove it. Single digit bodyfat exists only slightly under his skin, showcasing striated and defined muscle. This is your seven steps to getting a perfect shredded body…

The 7 Steps to Shred:

  1. Mindset
  2. Planning
  3. Training and Routines
  4. Nutrition
  5. Resting
  6. Supplementation
  7. Tracking/Recording

Let’s do this!

Illustration of brain to represent mindset

1. Mindset

Striding into single digit body fat can be tough. But, you’re about to go in hard with the best weapon of all. No, not savage workouts or crushing calorie cuts – mindset!

The way you think governs how you act. After all, we’re all slaves to our mental master, with some being stronger than others. Getting shredded starts here.

First, learn to believe in the power of visualization for smashing goals. Begin to imagine how you’ll look, feel, and act like as a new man. How high will your self esteem be? What clothes will you wear? Why will your new set of rippling abs give you the confidence to go shirtless at the beach? Okay, now write these answers down.

Next, consider creating an inspiration board. This could be a chalk-board or even a blank space on the wall. Fill this area with pictures that provoke you and fuel the fire. Throw up pictures of shredded icons, ripped athletes, workouts you want to dominate, and meals you’d like to try. Look at this board every day and soak it all in. Maybe pin your favorite motivational quotes here too!

Finally, take this mindset everywhere you go. Understand that saying no to that extra cupcake is the man you’ve become. You’re on a journey to unbelievable shreds, this is who you are. When things get tough, and they will get tough, remind yourself why you started. Head to the inspiration board to rediscover your goals.

 

2. Planning

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln

Your mindset is primed, perfected, and impenetrable. It’s unshakeable, razor sharp like a steel blade.

So, what’s the plan of attack?

Planning is an integral part of achieving any body goal. Once it’s set in motion it’ll keeps on rolling until the wheels fall off and you hit your mark. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself to establish your plan:

  • When will you start your 6-8 week transformation?
  • How many times per week will you work out?
  • What will you eat?
  • When will you rest?
  • Is your end goal achievable?
  • Are you keeping things realistic?

A bulletproof plan takes the energy of guessing out of the equation. You won’t have to think, instead you’ll just do! Trust us, it’s much easier to stay on track when the path is carved out clearly.

Choose a start date for your journey. Ideally, this will be a time when you can go in hard for at least six weeks straight. For many bros it helps to work backward from a specific date. Maybe you want to get shredded for a vacation? Perhaps you’ve got a bachelor party to attend and you want to look your best? Find square one, set your sights on it, then go!

Then, it’s all about your physical action plan. We recommend you try hit the gym at least four times per week. However, you might choose to do more if you’re a hardcore go-getter. Either way, plan out your workouts ahead of time and use a periodized approach to spark progression. In short – make things more challenging as you move forward.

You’ve heard abs are made in the kitchen, right? Well, it’s certainly true for single digit body fat. Decide what you’ll be eating each week by counting and tracking your macros. This way you won’t be swayed by poor choices or get caught off guard. Don’t worry, a planned cheat meal is always a high priority, so include it.

Once you have everything mapped out, stick to the route. Show yourself just how dedicated you are and reap the reward later.

Shredded man with barbell

3. Training and Routine

Training and diet go together to destroy body fat like a double-edged weapon. Time spent in the gym is your chance to strap striated muscle to your shoulders, cut out a chiseled core and construct epic wheels of steel.

For years fitness channels championed the fat burning zone. Slow and steady were the buzz words behind their mantra, telling to jog around the park instead of hitting the iron.

Let’s get one thing straight, bro – this is the wrong approach. It’s just too long winded and the returns are minimal.

Instead, the most effective way to carve out a marble physique is with intent. It’s about igniting the fat burning process inside your cells by creating demand. High intensity, high energy needs – it’s that simple.

Two incredibly effective ways of targeting fat stores while maintaining muscle are:

  • HIRT – High-intensity resistance training [1] [2]
  • HIIT – High-intensity interval training [3] [4] [5]

When used together these can help you recompose your body. You’ll essentially disprove the impossible, by simultaneously stripping fat while building muscle. Yup, forget the broscience, body recomposition is tried and tested for men just like you [6].

Full-Body HIRT Workout for Shredding

How many times per week? Ideally three-or-four, with a day between each workout.

HIRT, aka high-intensity resistance training, is designed to keep the heartrate above 80%. You’ll typically carry out a series of moves back-to-back without a break, before taking a short rest. Workouts only last around 30-45 minutes due to their intensity, which is a bonus for busy men.

Try this shred-inducing HIRT workout today…

Warm up with ten minutes steady cardio followed by some dynamic stretches and foam rolling. If in doubt: 15 arm circles each way, 15 shoulder dislocations, 15 squats, 15 lunges per leg.

Complete three or four rounds of the following:

Rest 60 seconds between each round.

Fat Burning HIIT Session

How many times per week? Shoot for two-to-three, alternated between your HIRT sessions.

HIIT, aka high-intensity interval training, is similar to HIRT in that it’s all about sky-high heartrate. BPM should be kept over 80% of your maximum or around 8-9 RPE. As the name suggests, this is achieved by exercisers going hard for a short interval, before taking a planned rest afterward.

Ready to deliver a HIIT to your fat cells? 3, 2, 1… Go!

Complete 45 seconds of each exercise at high-intensity. Once the buzzer rings, rest for 15 seconds, before hitting the next movement hard.

  • Battle rope waves
  • Medicine ball slams
  • Assault bike sprint
  • Burpee with tuck jump
  • Rest: 60 – 120 secs

At the end of the round take a minute or two to find composure before going again. We actively encourage you to build your own HIIT assaults with these ultimate 15 best fat burning moves too.

For a different approach…

If you’re looking at those two workouts with disdain don’t sweat. Take a scout at this 4-Week Weight Loss Workout Plan & Diet instead for a more traditional sets and rep route.

Alternatively, break up your workout week like Jason Mamoa with a PPL split. You can find more info on Push Pull Legs programs here.

Low-carb, high-protein meal for getting shredded

4. Nutrition

Unleashing the perfect shredded body takes precision. Your nutrition must be on lockdown to stand a chance of cutting down to eight percent fat levels. Fortunately, you’re as dedicated as they come, so let’s get to it.

To reduce body fat, you’ll need a calorie deficit. This is when you eat less calories than you burn, forcing your metabolism to use fat for fuel. Keeping protein high during this process also helps to preserve your valued muscle. After all, you’re getting shredded to show these gains off.

Tipping the scales toward shred

Understanding exactly how many calories you need every day is complicated. However, roughly estimating the amount couldn’t be simpler. All you need to do is grab a pen, paper and calculator to follow this formula. Wait, just grab your smartphone, it’s probably easier.

First, you’ll find your Basal Metabolic Rate (kcals to stay alive) and then our Total Daily Energy Expenditure. This final amount is how many calories you’ll typically burn through every day. Need a deficit? No worries! Just minus 10-20% away from the total for a smooth, manageable cut.

Here’s the formula to follow to find your TDEE:

BMR = 66 + ( 6.23 x weight in pounds ) + ( 12.7 x height in inches ) – ( 6.8 x age in years )

Next, multiply your BMR by your activity level:

Sedentary (little or no exercise): BMR x 1.2

Lightly active (light exercise/sports 1-3 days/week): BMR x 1.375

Moderately active (moderate exercise/sports 3-5 days/week): BMR x 1.55

Very active (hard exercise/sports 6-7 days a week): BMR x 1.725

Extra active (very hard exercise/sports & physical job or 2x training): BMR x 1.9

Awesome. Now you know what to aim for each day throughout your fat burning journey.

Tip: Keep tracking your calorie maintenance as it may change over time.

Muscle saving shredding macros

You’re a smart guy so you’re not going to just cut calories from anywhere. You understand that an intelligent approach is to shave off the sugar and carbs first. You might even be an advocate of carb cycling to speed up the shredding process.

Fats are also kept in check, because at nine cals per gram, they’re the heftiest macronutrient in the mix. However, you know healthy fats are integral for regulating hormones including testosterone. Furthermore, you’re in tune with the fact that testosterone helps with muscle maintenance, while effectively managing fat storage.

Protein is probably the highest priority on your grocery list. Studies have shown a high-protein diet to be super effective for fat loss for a few reasons [7]. One, it keeps you satiated and stops hunger sabotaging your shreds. Two, it provides the building blocks to protect your muscles. Three, protein comes in at only four calories per gram.

An ideal macro breakdown for effective shreds is as follows:

  • Carbohydrates – 30%
  • Fats – 20%
  • Protein – 50%

 Tip: Download and use a macro tracking app like MyFitnessPal to stay on track

It’s okay to cheat a little…

Hey, buddy, wanna hear something good? It’s totally okay to reward all your hard work with a cheat meal. Scientists have proven treats to be effective in boosting your progress [8], so don’t shy away. We suggest one indulgent mealtime on a Saturday to unwind, reflect and relax.

 

5. Resting

Believe it or not, how you rest is just as important as diet and training. This is the time you give your body to repair itself, recuperate and recharge. It’s okay to unwind and take the foot off the gas, so do it.

Imagine redlining a car from dusk till dawn. Even the best of engines won’t last long if the driver has that attitude. Instead, it’s about knowing when to put pedal to metal, or hanging back and cooling off.

We recommend a minimum of one or two rest days per week. Forget the gym exists on these days, kick it on the sofa with your girl, or visit a friend. Maybe just take some time to yourself and enjoy a movie (epic cheat meal to hand). Don’t stress if you need to take another day off after a tough session either.

Sleep is also an integral part of your resting ritual. Ensure you’re getting a minimum of seven hours every night, which you can do by hiding your phone to make sure it’s silent. Try to keep your room dark, cool and quiet too.

Why? Because many studies point poor sleep to hunger, tanked testosterone, and low energy – all of which result in a shoddy physique. Consider these three things to be the triad of sabotaged-shreds, bro.

Tips for resting:

  • Go for a light walk, swim, or cycle to promote active recovery
  • Spend time with friends and family
  • Reward your hard work once a week with a cheat meal
  • Practice your mobility and attend to any niggles
  • Remind yourself that rest is important, and you’ve earned it

Shredded man holding shaker full of supplements

6. Supplementation

See supplements as the body armor bolstering your battle-ready physique. They’re the tools to take away any gaps present in your nutrition, which will ultimately help you excel. In short – supplements provide a safety net, so nothing is missed.

Recommended supplement stack to support your shredding goals:

  • Creatine – indicated to improve overall strength, power, and muscle [9]
  • Protein powder – taken to boost intake throughout the day to support a high-protein diet
  • Pre-workout – supercharge your workouts with high-quality energy, even when in a calorie deficit
  • Fat burners – increase thermogenesis and kick cravings with scientifically backed compounds
  • Testosterone boosters – optimize your androgen hormones that regulate lean mass and fat distribution
  • BCAAs – preserve muscle during intense exercise with branched chain amino acids

Tip: When purchasing supplements search for a premium product first. While it might seem a good idea to go for cheaper alternatives, this choice may reflect on your physique.

 

7. Tracking/Recording

Because your goal is to get shredded it’s important to track progress. Not only will this help guide you, but it’s an awesome way to maximize motivation too. As you see your bodyfat percentage begin to drop you’ll feel proud. You’ll see your hard work in action and be inspired to keep going.

Notice how we said bodyfat percentage. We’re not interested in what the scale says here, bro. Instead, we’re all about that lean life. Weight is almost irrelevant when compared to how much fat resides under your skin.

To track and record progress we suggest monitoring body fat. You can do this once a week, first thing in the morning before breakfast. Try not to eat or drink beforehand though.

Also, don’t feel pressured to track every day. This is not good for morale or mental wellbeing and can become obsessive. Make the whole process enjoyable bro.

These are a few ways to measure bodyfat:

  • Progress pictures – easy to take, less intrusive, free, no actual reading of body fat
  • Handheld calipers – can purchase yourself, relatively affordable, average around six points of inaccuracy [10]
  • Body measurements – easy to do, only need a flexible tape measure, error can be between 2.5-4.5% [11]
  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) – units vary in expense and accuracy, quick process, easy to do, may be inaccurate between 3.80-5% [12]

Tip: Pin your progress on the inspiration board. This will give you a daily reminder how far you’ve come on your journey to shredded.

Shredded athlete pulling the spled

Final word

We got there, bro. Now you have everything you need to guarantee a summer of shreds. Follow our advice and you’ll be lean and mean like a true alpha male.

Getting down to miniscule body fat that doesn’t cloud your physique is hard. There’s gonna be bumps along the way, but you’ve got to keep pushing. When you’re looking back at your reflection thinking wow, who the hell is this guy, it’ll be worth it.

Good luck, brother. We’ll be seeing you rocking steely abs in no time.

 

References

  1. Seynnes O, de Boer M, Narici M. Early skeletal muscle hypertrophy and architectural changes in response to high-intensity resistance training.J Appl Physiol. 2007;102(1):368-373. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00789.2006
  2. Paoli A, Moro T, Marcolin G, et al. High-Intensity Interval Resistance Training (HIRT) influences resting energy expenditure and respiratory ratio in non-dieting individuals.J Transl Med. 2012;10:237. Published 2012 Nov 24. doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-237
  3. Boutcher S. High-Intensity Intermittent Exercise and Fat Loss.J Obes. 2011;2011:1-10. doi:10.1155/2011/868305
  4. Zhang H, Tong TK, Qiu W, et al. Comparable Effects of High-Intensity Interval Training and Prolonged Continuous Exercise Training on Abdominal Visceral Fat Reduction in Obese Young Women.J Diabetes Res. 2017;2017:5071740.
  5. Herbert P, Hayes LD, Sculthorpe NF, Grace FM. HIIT produces increases in muscle power and free testosterone in male masters athletes.Endocr Connect. 2017;6(7):430-436.
  6. Antonio J, Ellerbroek A, Silver T et al. A high protein diet (3.4 g/kg/d) combined with a heavy resistance training program improves body composition in healthy trained men and women – a follow-up investigation.J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2015;12(1). doi:10.1186/s12970-015-0100-0
  7. Halton T, et al. The Effects of High Protein Diets on Thermogenesis, Satiety and Weight Loss: A Critical Review. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004
  8. Coelho do Vale R, Pieters R, Zeelenberg M. The benefits of behaving badly on occasion: Successful regulation by planned hedonic deviations.Journal of Consumer Psychology. 2016;26(1):17-28. doi:10.1016/j.jcps.2015.05.001
  9. Kreider R. Effects of creatine supplementation on performance and training adaptations.Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry. 2003;244:88-94. doi:10.1023/A:1022465203458
  10. Peterson M, Czerwinski S, Siervogel R. Development and validation of skinfold-thickness prediction equations with a 4-compartment model.Am J Clin Nutr. 2003;77(5):1186-1191. doi:10.1093/ajcn/77.5.1186
  11. Lukaski H. Body Composition. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis Group; 2017.
  12. Bosy-Westphal A, Schautz B, Later W, Kehayias J, Gallagher D, Müller M. What makes a BIA equation unique? Validity of eight-electrode multifrequency BIA to estimate body composition in a healthy adult population. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013;67(S1):S14-S21. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2012.1

 

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